Urban Chicken Keeping Myths

As a follow up to our article, Changing Local Backyard Chicken Ordinances, we wanted to provide you with more information that might sway those in your community who might be wary about allowing backyard flocks.

Myth 1. Chickens carry diseases communicable to humans.
Fact: The truth is that small flocks have literally no risk of avian flu transmission to humans. The 2006 Grain Report states: “When it comes to bird flu, diverse small-scale poultry is the solution, not the problem.” Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states on their website: “There is no need at present to remove a (family) flock of chickens because of concerns regarding avian flu.”

Myth 2. Chickens are too noisy.
Fact: Laying hens—at their loudest—have about the same decibel level as human conversation (60 to 70 decibels). Hens are so quiet that there have been cases of family flocks being kept for years without the next door neighbors knowing it.

To some, noise is a concern with roosters and their early-morning crowing. Many urban codes ban roosters, or only allow them to be kept with special permits. The noise level of a rooster’s crow is about the same as a barking dog; 90 decibels.

Myth 3. Chickens cause waste and odor.
Fact: A 40-pound dog generates more solid waste than 10 chickens. To be more specific, one 40-pound dog generates about .75 pounds of poop every day. Ten chickens generate about .66 pounds daily poop.

The advantage to chicken poop is that it can be used as valuable, high-nitrogen fertilizer. Unlike dog or cat poop, chicken poop can be combined with yard and leaf waste to create compost. Just as valuable, about 40% of the chicken manure is organic matter necessary for building fertile, healthy topsoil.

Myth 4. Chickens attract predators, pests and rodents.
Fact: Predators and rodents are already living in urban areas. Wild bird feeders, pet food, gardens, fish ponds, bird baths and trash waiting to be collected all attract raccoons, foxes, rodents and flies. Chickens are voracious carnivores and will seek out and eat just about anything that moves including ticks (think Lyme disease), fleas, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, stink bugs, slugs, and even mice, baby rats and small snakes.

Myth 5. Property values will decrease.
Fact: There is not one single documented case that we know of about a next door family flock that has decreased the value of real estate. On the contrary, local foods and living green is so fashionable, that some realtors and home sellers are offering a free chicken coop with every sale.

Myth 6. Coops are ugly.
Fact: Micro-flock coop designs can be totally charming, upscale and even whimsical. Common design features include blending in with the local architectural style, matching the slope of the roof and complementing color schemes.

Myth 7. My neighbors will think I’m nuts.
Fact: You can’t control what anyone thinks, much less your neighbor.

Once folks gain more experience with the advantages and charms of chickens, most prejudice and fear evaporates; especially when you share some of those fresh, heart-healthy, good-for-you eggs from your family flock.

There is one huge advantage to family flocks that is often overlooked during chicken debates. That is their role and value in solid waste management systems. Chickens, as clucking civic workers, are biomass recyclers and can divert tons of organic matter from the trash collection and landfills.

Chickens will eat just about all kitchen “waste.” They love people food, even those “gone-by” leftovers that have seasoned in the refrigerator. Combine their manure with grass clippings, fallen leaves and garden waste, and you create compost. Composting with chicken helpers keeps tons of biomass out of municipal trash collection systems.

All this can save big time taxpayer dollars, which is especially valuable in these times of stressed municipal budgets.

Once you successfully change the hearts and minds of your community members, consider a Henny+Roo subscription for monthly deliveries of treats, supplies, and gifts. Learn more at: hennyandroo.com

June 2019 Henny+Roo Box Sneak Peek

We’re thrilled to send Jessi Bloom’s book, Free Range Chicken Gardens, to all current subscribers this June!

If you’re not an active subscriber, it’s a good time to start or reactivate your past subscription. Free Range Chicken Gardens is a beautiful book that inspires chicken keepers to create a functional and beautiful outdoor space while providing a safe environment for chickens to free range. It starts with basic chicken keeping info and goes on to explain fence and hardscape selections, chicken-friendly plants, sample garden designs, innovative coops, and predator prevention.

We know you’re going to love the gorgeous photos of our favorite pets enjoying lovely garden spaces. 🌸 Not a subscriber? Order now, and save 10% on your first subscription with code: SPRING10 at hennyandroo.com.

We love celebrating Spring with you! As always, contact us at info@hennyandroo.com with any questions.

Changing Local Backyard Chicken Ordinances

Spring is a time when many people wish to start a backyard flock, but their local laws prevent them from doing so. The good news is, lots of people have been successful in changing their local laws and ordinances. Here are some tips for changing the law where you live:

1. Find out exactly what your local ordinances are and make sure they are sufficiently specific. Some ordinances may be vague enough for you take advantage of, for example one that prohibits “barn animals,” but doesn’t specify poultry. However, some ordinances state that anything not addressed in the ordinance is assumed prohibited. Get your information directly from the city, in writing.

2. Ask around and check Facebook for groups of people in your town who are already busy trying to change your local laws. If not, invite others from your area and create a support group. There is strength in numbers and the more people sign on, the better your chances of success will be. Environmental or hunger organizations can help by writing a letter in support of backyard chicken keeping that you may present to your local government.

3. Contact one of the chicken-friendly towns near you. Ask about their policies, how it works and if it has been successful. Then draft an ordinance that is appropriate to your town. You can use the ordinance of a neighboring town as a template.

4. Assemble an informational packet, based on the information you get. State facts, cite your references, include maps charts, photographs and letters of support.

5. Once you’ve got all the information you need, contact your city council and request the issue be placed on the council meeting agenda. Find out how your council meetings work and when public comments are allowed. Learn the protocol for submitting an item for discussion with your public officials.

6. Expect for this to take months. Changing city ordinances is neither easy nor quick, but it can be done. Stay polite, friendly, firm and persistent. This will help win your council’s favor and show them you are serious.

We wish you the best of success in making a difference and helping your community experience the wonderful hobby of chicken keeping. When you do get your flock started, consider signing up for Henny+Roo, the first and only subscription box for chicken keepers, sending treats, supplies and gifts monthly. Learn more at: hennyandroo.com

The May 2019 Henny+Roo Box Reveal

Subscribers, we hope you’re enjoying the May Henny+Roo box! We love introducing you to new products like:

New! Chubby Mealworms Dried Calci-Worms: US-grown and high in calcium, increasing general health, stronger bones, and shiny feathers.

Dry Cider Vinegar from BVS: Supplemental source of vinegar and a mild acidifier for poultry water.

Vanilla Fly Repellant from Henny+Roo: Did you know pests hate the smell of vanilla? A safe means of fly control for your coop.

Espoma Odor Control from Espoma Naturals: Helps control odors worsened by heat – naturally.

Mealworm Pie from Hentastic Treats: A great source of fat and protein, while keeping your flock interested and occupied.

Apricot Herb Solid Perfume from Orglamix Cosmetics: A fresh springtime scent.

Absorbent Stone Coasters from Henny+Roo: Fits inside car cup holders!

Hen Bottle Opener from Goodrich Metal Works: A truly unique way to open summer beverages.

Nesting Box Liner: In every box!

If you missed it, we have just a few left in our Shop at hennyandroo.com!